2023 systemic test results show improvement across all school phases - News | Western Cape Education Department

2023 systemic test results show improvement across all school phases

7 February 2024

Statement by Minister David Maynier, Minister of Education Western Cape

The results of our annual systemic tests for 2023 are now available, which show an improvement in Mathematics and Language scores across all school phases in the Western Cape.

Systemic Testing

We are the only province to conduct systemic testing in Mathematics and Language, which give us a consistent record of improvements and declines in our learners’ skills and allow us to determine the success of any changes we make to the system.

These are conducted each year in Grades 3, 6 and 9, and are internationally benchmarked and administered, marked, and moderated externally to ensure objectivity and to provide a credible and relevant benchmark for evaluation.

The purpose of these tests is to provide teachers and schools with a powerful analytical tool to help them achieve our department’s vision for quality education for every learner, in every classroom, in every school in the province.

2023 headline results

The Foundation Phase (Grades 1 to 3) was the most severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with significant decreases in pass rates in the annual tests. This is why our department has made this phase a priority, as children who fall behind in these early grades will struggle to catch up later in their school career.

The 2023 results reveal significant gains in Grade 3 scores compared to the previous year, with the Grade 3 Mathematics pass rate increasing by 4.3 percentage points, and Grade 3 Language pass rate increasing by 4.0 percentage points.

We are pleased that the results indicate that our interventions in early grade literacy and numeracy, as well as our allocation of extra time to Reading and Mathematics within the school day for these grades, are bearing fruit.

The pass rates for Mathematics and Language in Grades 6 and 9 have also increased by between 1.0 and 1.7 percentage points.

There is, however, a long way still to go to reach pre-pandemic scores, and to surpass them, so we will continue to find ways to further strengthen our support for learners across all school phases.

Next steps

Individual school reports will now be provided to our schools, to help them to identify which specific topics, learning areas and concepts that they will need to focus on in the year ahead.

Schools find these reports extremely useful as it allows for a tailored approach to improving learning outcomes, rather than a blanket approach that does not consider the unique circumstances of each school.

The results will also be provided to our curriculum officials who are leading our #BackOnTrack interventions so that they can better support our schools.

We appreciate the extra hours that our teachers, schools, and officials have put in to help reverse the devastating learning losses our children suffered because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am proud that we are all working together, improving learning outcomes every day, and contributing directly to a better future for our children in the Western Cape.

2023 systemic test results

Please note: no testing was conducted in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

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Media Enquiries:
Kerry Mauchline
Spokesperson to Minister David Maynier
Western Cape Ministry of Education